206788 Unmet need of mental health care in Asian American Elders

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 8:30 AM

Domin Chan, PhD, MHS , IWRI, School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Jürgen Unützer, MD, MPH, MA , Dept of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Dolly A. John, MPH , Dept. of Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle, WA
David T. Takeuchi, PhD , School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Background: Ethnic minorities with common mental disorders have much lower rates of mental health service use and often receive poorer quality of mental health care compared to whites. Few studies have assessed mental illness and health services use among older Asian Americans. This is the first to use a nationally representative sample of Asian Americans.

Objective: To assess unmet need and health services use for emotional problems among older Asian Americans.

Setting: Nationally representative household sample of Asian Americans using data from the National Latino and Asian American Survey.

Study Population: Subsample of Asian American respondents aged 50 years or older (n=580)

Methods: Mental disorders, including mood, anxiety and substance abuse disorders, were assessed using the DSM IV World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Service use for problems with emotions, nerves, mental health or use of alcohol or drugs was self-reported and included general medical care, psychiatric care, and other care, such as social services and complementary and alternative medicine. Estimated proportions are weighted to account for complex survey design.

Results: Seven percent of older Asian American respondents met criteria for a mental disorder. Only 22% of older Asian Americans with any 12 month mental disorder used some form of services in the past year. Over 75% of users visited a mental health specialist.

Conclusions: A large proportion of Asian American elders with mental disorders are not receiving adequate professional treatment. More research is needed on factors that explain this significant underutilization of health services.

Learning Objectives:
Fescribe the need and health services use for emotional problems among older Asian Americans. Compare mental health services use in Asian elders to other populations.

Keywords: Mental Health Care, Asian Americans

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I planned and am conducting this research. I have a PhD in health services research. I'm currently a post-doc fellow in geriatric mental health services research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.